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SLS Wet Dress Rehearsal Delayed for Vehicle Preparations

Space vehicle preparation

SLS Wet Dress Rehearsal Delayed for Vehicle Preparations

NASA will postpone the final Space Launch System pre-launch test to give workers more time to complete vehicle preparations.

Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA, said the wet dress rehearsal will be moved to mid-March from its planned schedule of mid-February. The latest delay was not because of a single issue, unlike the engine controller problem that was spotted in December that delayed SLS testing.

Mike Bolger, manager of the Exploration Ground Systems program at NASA, shared that the delay can be attributed to the amount of work that is needed for the spacecraft. He noted that officials have to be meticulous to ensure that SLS will be ready for testing, SpaceNews reported.

The delay means that an uncrewed Artemis 1 launch mission will not be possible in March. NASA is now looking at two two-week launch windows from April 8 to 23 and May 7 to 21, but the actual date will depend on the SLS wet dress rehearsal.

Engineers are continuing to monitor the engine controller problem, which Artemis 1 mission manager Mike Sarafin said was already isolated. According to Sarafin, NASA will provide an update on the issue and will ensure that the problem is cleared before the actual launch.

SLS tests were delayed when it experienced a faulty engine controller in December, causing the wet dress rehearsal to be pushed back from the first half of January to the February timeline.

Bolger said the pre-launch test will take around two weeks. Tests will include inspections on the launchpad, vehicle interface checks, full tanking and a practice countdown.

NASA said the Space Launch System will be the agency’s most powerful rocket, producing a maximum of 8.8 million pounds of thrust. It will allow astronauts to venture further out into the solar system.

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Category: Space

Tags: Artemis launch rehearsal Mike Bolger Mike Sarafin NASA space Space Launch System SpaceNews Tom Whitmeyer